Volkswagen has settled with Wyoming and most other states over consumer claims for more than $600 million but not over environmental matters.
Federal law allows California and states that adopt its emissions rules to enforce vehicle rules. Volkswagen has settled environmental claims with most of those states.
Giuffra said that allowing Wyoming to bring its own lawsuit would be “unprecedented” and if the state won “it would make it impossible in the future for auto manufacturers to actually enter into the kinds of global settlements that Volkswagen did.”
Elizabeth Morrisseau, Wyoming senior assistant attorney general, urged Breyer to reject Volkswagen’s argument. “This case really comes down to … a struggle between Congress telling the states, You don’t get to design cars, but you do get to control how they work on your roads,” she said.
Breyer expressed scepticism over Wyoming’s arguments. The fact that no similar case had been brought is “a yellow flag, not a red flag,” he said.
Last week, U.S. regulators approved a fix for 326,000 older 2.0-liter Volkswagen diesel cars. The fix includes hardware and software upgrades, including replacing an emissions catalyst.
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)